Drug Of The Week: Tharra

Drug of the Week is an ongoing series about the exciting, new, and often dangerously dumb ways people are getting high these days. To check out our previous Drug of the Week, click here!

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THIS WEEK’S DRUG: THARRA

MEDICAL RISK: 8     HALLUCINATORY EFFECT: 3

A traditional drink in North India and Pakistan, tharra is a homemade fermentation of sugarcane or wheat husk. It’s basically moonshine. The substance is allowed to ferment in terra cotta pots buried in cow dung — not exactly a sterile environment.

That might sound delightfully all-natural, but if you let it sit for long enough it can kill you via copper formaldehyde poisoning. Its ongoing popularity might be explained by its strength: it can be 180 proof, good lord. It’s often adulterated with various poisons by middle-men to make it even more intense, so that they can dilute it and sell more.